JOY

Lights Christmas tree and child

Joy, joy
Rejoice and be glad

Hearts full, sing praise
Assured and comforted

Good tidings, Emmanuel
Joy

From “My Words to Live By” c-a allen

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Christmastide Journey

candle Christmas lights

Zechariah and Elizabeth upon the path
To them came joyful word
Rejoice, a son to fill their lives
Messenger to prepare the way

Mary and Joseph lead by God
Angel-greeted, faithful, and true
Rejoice, rejoice Messiah to come
Emmanuel, God is with us

Through Nazareth and Judean hills
Arrived at lowly stable
Rejoice, Bethlehem to see the child
Angel-announced and shepherd-followed

From eastern lands the wise men traveled
Followed a shining star of hope
Rejoice, rejoice a king is born
Gifts offered to humble home

To Egypt now, as former time
Now flee, oh flee far from
Earthly king 
blinded to good news
The story will continue 

Jerusalem upon the mountain
Journey on, journey true
Rejoice, oh people of faith
Step now, for Christmastide

Faithful comes a mighty God
Light shines to show the way 
Place of shelter, gift of grace
Worship now… u
pon this Christmastide journey

Gratitude

thank you_edited

“Say thank you,” Momma reminded us. Whether it was home-baked cookies, a special gift, or a compliment, the importance of expressing our gratitude was a lesson learned early. Family gatherings and meals were opportunities to be polite as we enjoyed each other’s company: “Would you like some more?” … “Yes, thank you!”

When ten lepers were healed after encountering Jesus, only one returned to him to give God thanks. The fact that this man was also a despised Samaritan, one of mixed Jewish race, was even more amazing… or perhaps it was more understandable. This man knew what it felt like to be rejected on an even deeper level. 

Thanks is also spoken in anticipation of what is yet to be received. When Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish to feed the large crowd which had gathered, he offered thanks before the miracle occurred and the food was provided. He trusted that God would supply what was needed. Before Lazarus was raised from the dead, Jesus prayed and gave thanks, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.”

There is something about the expression of gratitude that brings happiness and encouragement to everyone. It is more than a simple thank you, hug, or smile. Gratitude is a recognition of goodness and caring. It acknowledges the act of giving, which says, “You matter!”

How God must love to receive our thanks to Him… that same recognition of His goodness and care and that we His children matter to Him! The ten men were still covered with leprosy, yet they turned to show themselves to the priests, anticipating their healing which had not yet occurred. Isn’t that amazing?! It is so hard to thank God when we are in the middle of our own struggles or grief. How can I thank God in times when my world seems to be falling apart?! Yet, like the lepers, we can confidently go forward… Isn’t it also difficult at times to give thanks to God when we are full and satisfied, when life is restored and good, and to recognize or acknowledge His provision?

Gratitude. How will we express it …and how will we experience it in both the receiving and the giving?

*Luke 17:11-19, John 6:11, John 11:41

Hold Us

children arm over shoulder - bw

Hold us, oh Lord
In your encircling arms
So wide so strong
Hold us, oh Lord
Quiet shelter

Hold us, oh Lord
We rest in You
Your unfailing presence
Hold us, oh Lord
Do not turn away

Hold us, oh Lord
We rejoice in You
Secure and protected
Hold us, oh Lord
Block temptation’s sway

Hold us, oh Lord
When doubts say flee
When fears would darken
Hold us, oh Lord
Your hands to calm

Hold us, oh Lord
Strong ship in storm
Firm tower in battle
Hold us, oh Lord
When our soul would faint

Hold us, oh Lord
We abide in You
Source of life and hope
Hold us, oh Lord
God Eternal

REFLECTIONS ON PUMPKINS

pumpkins n pie

• The Vine provides nutrients for us to grow.
• We all have a purpose in life.
• To be best used, we need to be cleaned out.
• Once cleaned out, there is opportunity for nourishment and enjoyment.
• A light within reveals character.
• Ripe pumpkins announce the new season.
• Seeds are useful for nutrition and future plants.
• Combining with other ingredients can be amazing.
• Sharing these creations brings smiles.

AFRAID

lightning storm dark_edited_pexels-photo-167755

Flash! … Boom! Crash! Crackle! As lightning flashed and thunder rolled late one night, I leapt from my bed and ran to the doorway of my upstairs bedroom. As a young girl many years ago, I still clearly remember how afraid I was. I called for my father, my voice almost drowned out by the storm, and he came up to assure me that all would be well. His comforting presence stayed with me until the worst of the storm had passed.

Jesus’ disciples were afraid during a storm too. As they were crossing the Sea of Galilee, a sudden storm came up and the boat was in danger of sinking. Jesus had fallen asleep, but his disciples awakened him; he got up and rebuked the wind and waters and calmed the storm. *

There are times in life when I am afraid. I’m afraid for my family and others when they face health challenges or accidents. I’m afraid of dangerous weather and travel conditions. I’m afraid because of uncertain times, strained relationships, or changes in life situations. Sometimes I’m afraid to try new things or to step out in a new or different direction.

When Jesus’ disciples were afraid and amazed after Jesus calmed the storm, Jesus spoke of their faith and when my father came to me during the thunder storm, his presence calmed me. I had faith that my daddy would take care of me, that I would be safe. When we feel alone, overwhelmed, and afraid we can remember the words Jesus spoke to his disciples in his final days with them. He encouraged them to have faith and said that he would be sending the Holy Spirit to be with them forever: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. **

God surrounds us with His presence, the storms pass, and the winds calm… Peace to still our fears.

*Luke 8:23-25, **John 14:27